Are you wondering what the tôn giáo or main religion in Vietnam is? If you are, then this post is definitely for you as we will discuss here the common religious practices in Vietnamese society and how different it is from those from its neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. What might surprise you though, is that most Vietnamese people do not actually practice any religion at all, and a huge percentage are choosing to follow the Vietnamese folk religions. Let's learn more about it today.
Planning to book your accommodation and visit Ho Chi Minh city? Perhaps you have tried preparing yourself by learning the local languages, learning about the tourist spots, and listing down the top food items you are going to try out by now. However, there seems to be one critical point that you also must be prepared with, and that is about having knowledge of the religious life in Vietnam.
Religious freedom is important for many people across the globe. Given that we are all unique in our special ways, there is no surprise why religious practices can also vary. If you are a traveler or someone who is planning on migrating to Vietnam, learning about their culture, beliefs, and indigenous religions will certainly help you connect better and blend in with the locals. After all, we are pretty sure that you do not want to come off as offensive or do any sacrilegious activities.
For the case of the Vietnamese society, it is important that we note first that the country is a socialist republic under a communist government (of the CPV known as the Communist Party of Vietnam). This means that the government does not have an official religion which is why we can call them an atheist state. But just because a chunk of the population of the Vietnamese nation does not follow common religions, there are still some minority religions being practiced.
Before we discuss further the ethnic minorities and the major religions in the Vietnamese community, let us first focus on the right words related to this topic. For us, religion is a sensitive matter to discuss with the locals, which is why using the correct translations can seriously help you out in preventing the listeners from getting lost in translations.
|Monks||Các nhà sư|
|Mosque||Nhà thờ Hồi giáo|
|Prayer||Kinh cầu nguyện|
|Faith||Sự tin tưởng|
|Christianity||Thiên Chúa giáo|
|Judaism||đạo Do Thái|
|Hinduism||Đạo Hin Đu|
|Protestantism||đạo Tin lành|
Ready to learn more about the Vietnamese culture through the lens of religion? Let's dive right into it the sections below.
The total population of the country is truly unique when it comes to the topic of religion. They do have traditional practices (like the ancestor veneration), but about 80% of its people do consider themselves an atheist. The Vietnamese government does not have strict rules on what the locals should follow as they have enacted a range of legislation related to international religious freedom.
While religious institutions and gatherings are allowed, the law in Vietnam imposes that all groups must first seek government approval and become registered entities first. The country is pretty lenient on this since they are confident that not many of the Vietnamese population will be converted. Presently, 2 major religions are existing in Vietnam, including Buddhism and Christianity (Catholicism).
Like most of its brethren in Southeast Asia, there are more people practicing Buddhism than any other religion, and there is no surprise in that since it has been around since the second century AD. The religion is practiced by some ethnic minorities however, please do note that their type of Buddhism is somewhat different too. Instead of the traditional setting regarding the monks meditating, more of the Vietnamese monks are offering devotional rituals.
The Christian denomination is widespread across the globe, and it has managed to enter Vietnam back in the 16th century. However, the main type of Christian-based religion that you can find in Vietnam is Catholicism, with a population of about 8%. With such a small population, we bet you are asking yourself, "is there a Catholic church in Vietnam at all?" Well, you might be surprised that the religious communities practicing Catholicism enjoy 26 dioceses in the country, along with about 2,000+ parishes!
In addition to faiths from other parts of the world, Vietnam boasts religious minority groups such as the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao sects, which have sacred sites in Tay Ninh province and the Mekong Delta regions of Chau Doc and An Giang found on South Vietnam. There are also some who follow Islam, and there are official mosques scattered in all of the major cities in the country.
As we reach this part of the post, we hope that you were able to learn the religious beliefs in Vietnam. If you enjoyed this post and figured that you would love to learn more about the Vietnamese language, way of life, and spiritual practices, we highly recommend that you check out our previous posts here.
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